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Biden’s indecisive Ukraine policy risks defeat and humiliation


Valin

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Whether you’re a gung-ho supporter of American military aid to Ukraine or skeptical about Ukraine’s importance to America’s national interest, the Biden administration’s erratic course should ring loud alarm bells.

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Though the circumstances are different, the Biden administration seems intent on repeating the mistakes of our Vietnam strategy in the 1960s.

The core intellectual error there was thinking the level and application of military power could be precisely calibrated to send “signals” to North Vietnam to negotiate an end to the war.

The formal doctrine was called “graduated pressure,” and like the American disposition toward the Ukrainian conflict now, in practice it meant America would supply enough force to keep South Vietnam from losing but never threatening North Vietnam with actual defeat.

The doctrine assumed the North Vietnamese Communists thought about the conflict in the same rational terms as the United States.

President Lyndon Johnson kept plaintively asking, one senior aide recalled, “‘What does Ho Chi Minh want?’ as if Ho were a mayor of Chicago holding out for five new post offices

What Johnson and his war strategists didn’t understand was that North Vietnam was determined to win and willing to bear a high cost to do so.

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